Voting Guides?

Talk about anything related to the contests.

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Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2009 3:46 pm
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 10:07 pm
I think we should create some sort of voting guide for both photography and photoshop contests. What makes a good chop vs a bad one? What makes a good photograph?

I personally have no real point of reference for voting on photography contests because I don't really know anything about photography, so for me, it just comes down to is it a 'pretty picture' or not. Yet this is not fair to the authors because it does not recognize the technical skill involved of one piece vs another.

This is also true of photoshop contests. I know I have had pieces finish both way higher and way lower than, at least in my own mind, they truly deserved. There have been a few times when I can go look back at a contest and say 'Wow. I can't believe that piece finished where it did'.

I believe that this is because of a lack of a standard criteria of what is and isn't a good photo or chop. I am not blind to the issues that come with trying to set a standard on art, but there is a technical side to what we do that I think is often overlooked. Even food tasting contests have a standard for what constitutes a good example of the dish in spite of the subjective nature of taste.

I think this could be huge, especially for new folks. I believe it would also raise the general quality of submissions as folks knew exactly what they were shooting for when they create a piece.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 4:06 am
The subject of voting has been discussed several times in the forum. Recently I've been checking through past forum posts to find those topics that discussed how to vote, criteria etc. as a basis for a new discussion on the subject. It's good that you brought the subject up, it's obvious you and probably others are as concerned as I am about the subject. ATM I'm pressed for time but I will come back to this post as soon as I can to discuss this with you and hopefully others who will join in as well.

In the meanwhile you might want to check these older posts on the subject:

Some things said may be outdated but overall you'll find the subject has been a concern for many since the site was first up and running. There was one post in particular I'm trying to find that had a detailed discussion about what factors are important when voting and what criteria is important. That can be discussed again even if I can't find the original topic.

You can also read through the voting suggestions in the new Beginners Guide which is now available to all members here: It was put together by one of our Mods with some input from the rest of the Mod Team as an aide for beginners and experienced members as well. The idea is to have one source covering all that's needed to know to participate on Pxleyes. To be sure we include everything we can there will be updates and additions made as needed.

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Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2009 3:46 pm
PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 11:57 am
Perhaps the way to approach this is to determine how a submission might have issues. I will speak to photoshop contests since that is what I know. For me, photoshop errors fall into a few basic items from a technical standpoint:

    Masking issues - edges left around component sources or sections that should have been masked and weren't
    Shadows - absence of or inappropriate direction or strength
    Lighting\Levels - mismatched levels or light sources of components
    Blending techniques & Filters - Inappropriate use of such that it overwhelms or becomes the focal point of the piece

Note that I have not included creativity or humor in a piece because those are completely subjective. While I might tack on 5 extra points because of them, I would never detract from a score for lack of them. I also do not grade up or down for an SBS, though if it is a source contest and the source is not identifiable, I think that an SBS should be required (I believe this is already the case?)

Using the above criteria, I would see that falling into a scale like this:

    65+ - Exceptional examples of technique with excellent composition. Pieces with the "WOW!" factor
    60-65- No visible technical errors
    50-55 - 1-2 minor issues listed above
    45-50 - Multiple obvious or significant issues listed above
    under 45 - Obvious lack of any effort on the author's part

I also believe that there are issues with a suggested voting range of 45-70 in the beginner's guide on a scale of 1-100, but that is a discussion for another thread. :d
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 2:29 pm
Hi Irse,

I believe voting is a personal thing, each one of us have a personal set of criteria. Your list for instance lacks IMHO perspective, basic idea and how this was transformed, how well was the original source used, color balance, style, composition and so on.

To me the final result is important, how someone got there is of no importance. Humor to me is absolutely not important (it can even mean less score from me). I can be blown away by a technically less entry if for instance the style appeals to me.

What I'm trying to say is that it is hard to set up a guide because for each one of us here at PXL different criteria are important. And that's good! It's a form on art and that is hard to judge. You can not compare a Rembrandt with a van Gogh, Rembrandt was technically good but he could never see and paint what van Gogh saw. One might like Rembrandt more or van Gogh but everyone must admit both are first class painters.

The criteria you come up with might work for you but that does not go for anyone. We all search for something else in a piece of art. We relate to it through our life experiences, our personal goals, our preferences and so on. Some like to see 100 kitty photos a day and other can't stand them, still both sides are valid.

The beginners guide recommends a scale from 45-70 because, in the end, that is what over the years seems to be a reasonable and accepted voting scale. How you come to that score and what criteria you use to come to your score is not important, as long as you take the entries as a criteria to vote on.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:43 pm
Test Test Test? Seeing if I reactivated my account... Hold on for more babble :) =))
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 4:33 pm
Yeah! It worked. Thanks who ever fixed the password thingy... or didn't and I finally figured it out.. I'll thank myself if it was me...


As much as I abhor voting, (can't find parking, can't find my voter's registration, wondering if I registered?, who are these out of the polls pollsters?, did I eat enough breakfast or too much?, are there lavatories available?, will I be security checked?, why is my 3rd grade teacher sitting at the review table?, and will my fanny pack cause suspicion?), in my opinion, (and I do have one) is that voting really is a PERSONAL choice and there is no way of controlling it. What comes is what comes. Sort of like that blind date you just know is going to go all wrong and it turns out you really like the person. Until you meet their wife/husband/sexual partner and everything goes to rot.

Voting allows people to participate in the process and feel as if they are a part of something. This is one of the great things PXLeyes gives members. When I tried to do Worth1000 it was a nightmare. There was no camaraderie and I felt like I was in my first year of high school. Their voting is a scale from 1-5 which is mind boggling. Not to mention the comment area is enough to make you yack, but that's just me.

Voting happens. So does a whole lot of other stuff. It's what happens in competition. Every entry requires it's own type of vote. (Don't get me started on Phone App submissions... those are annoying and an insult to anyone who really puts an effort into their chop). We will never escape the "Sport" idea of a trophy and that's perfectly fine. It's the way voting works. Everyone makes good points about voting and that's how a democracy works. Though this site is more of like a soft dictatorship where the MODS have the power WHICH IS PERFECTLY FINE AND NECESSARY or there would be total anarchy. We are graced with MODS who are fair and that should be viewed as a blessing. You can't have a democracy in this kind of situation because we would end up with "Every Kid Gets A Trophy" school and that just doesn't work in an artistic setting. Artist like to be recognized for a job well done... annoying I know... but whatchagonnado?

My point is (and yes, as I said before, I do have one) that there should be a great concern centered around new members. Basically, voting should be made as easy as possible for the new voters so they won't feel scared or frightened to vote. They should also understand that their entries are just as important as anyone else and can achieve anything if they just try and work hard. (Though I know it will take time, the return of BEGINNER CONTESTS would be a boon for the sight, but I know we don't have enough new peeps to make that doable. It takes time.)

For what it's worth, whatever the MODS decide the voting should be will be fine with me. I trust your judgement. I'm just thankful to participate. Considering just a little over a year ago I had to re learn just how to turn on a computer (spider bite/coma/learning to speak again/wheelchair/walker/cane,heart valve (pig valve) oink oink oink) I'm just thrilled to participate. Being able to go to the bathroom without assistance is great too.. but that's a totally different situation.

It's nice to see the site back and working, that's the biggest thrill of all. Making the focus on getting more members should be the goal. What ever is needed to make it run smoothly will be great and I can see Voting is a concern that will be addressed. I wish you guys all the luck. Make me proud.... or don't. It's up to you.

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Cherlindrea: Elora Danan must survive. She must fulfill her destiny and bring about the downfall of Queen Bavmorda. Her powers are growing like an evil plague. Unless she is stopped, Bavmorda will control the lives of your village, your children, everyone. All creatures of good heart need your help, Willow. The choice is yours.

(Sorry, had to end on a drama note... life is way to serious sometimes... good luck MODS)
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Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2009 3:46 pm
PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 12:36 am

I certainly understand the points you make, but some of them actually reinforce, rather than refute, the argument. Your point about Rembrandt vs Van Gogh for example; yes, they are radically different in styles and yet both regarded as great artists. That in and of itself points to standard against which they have both been measured and have been found to have attained.

Also, the existence of a technical standard is not the end of it. I was in no way suggesting that it should be the whole of the voting criteria, not that you could enforce it even if it were. It was my intention to state what made a good chop from a technical standpoint and how I would vote based on the technical aspects since no one needs any help deciding if they like a given picture. Setting a standard and saying these are the marks of photoshop skill does not alter anything any more than suggesting 45-70 as a voting range forces people to vote within that range. You would still have differences among voters as to what constituted a minor issue vs a major one, for example. I can readily concede that there may well have been technical considerations that I left off the list though. It was very early when I posted I-)

Nonetheless, to carry it to the other extreme and say that technicals do not matter at all is missing the point equally. They are, after all, photoshop contests and as such, how good you are with photoshop would seem to be a pretty important factor. If it is an art contest only, then there is little need to separate them from say, photography contests as the question is not how good you are within a certain medium but at how skilled you are at creating art.

Personally, I think there should be separate votes for technicals vs artistry. I can see a piece which is not very technically well done but artistic as being equal to one that is not artistic, but very well done technically. This would have the added advantage of giving more productive feedback to the author by letting them know what areas to focus on to improve as an overall artist. I know what a huge change that would be though. As it stands now, if a piece does not score well, you have little idea as to why.

Lastly, please understand that it is my desire and intent to open a productive discussion. In my opinion, the current voting system is flawed because it does not adequately account for technicals. There may be more than one solution to this, but I believe before that can happen, we need to acknowledge that there is room for improvement.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 5:30 am
I rarely vote on Photoshop contests, as I really don't know enough about them, but do try to vote on the odd occasion that I enter a contest.
However I try to vote on a Photography entries. A very good piece of advice I was once given was to look at each image individually, not trying to rate entries against each other. So how do I vote?
If an image is in focus and on theme it deserves at least 50%, then it gets more or less depending on allover look and qualities.
I would like to be an emerging talent! Instead of a submerging Dinosaur!!!
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 5:36 am
My perspective on voting is primarily based on Photoshop contests, Photography has it's own criteria but has much in common regarding the objectives to keep in mind when evaluating an entry.

We are all members who joined to enter in competition with others who share the same interest in Photoshop (or Photography). We aren't just voting on a pretty picture, we're voting on entries that should be evaluated on more than just the final outcome. This means there should be consideration for other aspects of an entry.

To make my point I have to go back to the original contest site Photoshop Talent. We had a different vote system which I still believe was better in many ways. There was still a voting scale from 0-100% but there was also category voting which didn't affect the final percentage but did give an indication of how the entry was perceived for different categories. I'm pretty sure there was composition/design, shadows, color, use of source, humor and probably more that I can't remember for certain. You had the option to select from multiple choice answers: poor, fair, good, very good or excellent. After the contests were final you could see a feedback that showed the scores given (anonymously) plus the totals of the multiple choice response for each category. This was a great help in seeing where you need to improve for your next entry, for example if you had very few good to excellent votes for shadows you knew you need to improve how you create the shadows in your next entry. These categories were removed at some point and the feedback showing the votes as placed was also stopped. The reason given was that too many members were complaining about the low votes some had given their entries. I still think this system was the best way to learn how to improve your skills.

Irse has made some good points about what to consider when voting. No one can tell you how to vote but if everyone will consider the work that went into an entry and how well that work was executed it could contribute to a more accurate score and everyone will benefit from that. A good SBS is the best way to demonstrate the work that went into your entry.

For me I consider 50% my starting point when evaluating, I look to see the work done, was the masking/silo work clean? Is the composition good? I also look for Color, Originality, use of the source or interpretation of the theme and lastly the final appeal or do I like the image? That isn't always as important to me as the combined value of the other factors to consider. I rarely vote lower than 45%. 55-60% is a fairly good entry, 65-70% a really good entry, 75% and more an excellent entry. I never vote 100% because realistically no entry is perfect.

We can't set a mandatory guideline we can only suggest what voters should consider when evaluating an entry. We also have to remember that the degree of accuracy in the evaluation of the technical aspects is commensurate with the voters knowledge so even that will be a variable.

My advice to new members is think before you vote. Read this post and consider what everyone is saying and make a more informed effort to vote fairly for an entry. Remember that other members are voting for your work and you would want them to vote fairly for your efforts. We are a community of people who share some common interests in Photoshop, Photography and Art in general. The strength of Pxleyes has always been the community, the forum is the place to share and exchange ideas and information for the benefit of all. The vote system won't change, it's up to the community to make it work better by making the effort to learn how to appraise the work we see.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 7:23 pm
Okay, here goes. Even though this subject has been brought up previously, as Spaceranger mentioned, (He has posted older links) I'd like to thank Irse for bringing it up again. It's important for ALL members, not just newbies. And as mentioned, the following criteria are absolutely essential to consider when evaluating an entry:

• Masking issues - edges left around component sources or sections that should have been masked and weren't.
• Shadows - absence of or inappropriate direction or strength.
• Lighting\Levels - mismatched levels or light sources of components.
• Blending techniques & Filters - Inappropriate use of such that it overwhelms or becomes the focal point of the piece.

I'd like to add some thoughts to these. Masking: edges that are too sharp, jagged, or pixelated = lower vote.
Shadows: I'd add wrong opacity to that list.

Lighting/Levels: Light sources are usually simple to determine when choosing images. Many members pay little or no attention to this when making a composite. Lower vote.

Other things I take into consideration when voting, in no particular order: SBS. A step-by-step guide isn't mandatory, but I agree with Spaceranger that a good one is the best way to demonstrate the work that went into your entry. Looking at a good SBS over the years has certainly helped sharpen my skills, and I usually try to include at least a rudimentary one in my entries where I think it might be useful.

Composition: A good idea expressed in a poor composition won't get a lot of points from me.
Mood: Whether by color, lighting, good choice of subject matter, or all three, a well done moody piece can be impressive.
Humor: Tasteful humor is a joy to see. Crude, not so much.
Use of source: Obviously a creative use of the source will get a better vote than just slapping on some filters or overlaying other images. And here we come to CBR. Entries that are Chopped Beyond Recognition. Using Warp and Liquify to create something that bears no visible relation to the source gets a WOW vote from lots of members. I just scratch my head. To me it's being clever, not necessarily creative, and is a questionable use of the source because an identical recreation could be made with some other source. Some people love it, others share my opinion.

Lastly, and purely subjective, how does the entry make me feel? Is it the same old tired stuff I've seen a million times? Does it make me think? Does it make me say "Wow, I wish I had thought of that?" Does it uplift or disgust me? Is it so good I go back to view it just for fun?

I may have overlooked a few things, but to me all these things are important and I vote accordingly.
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